Christopher Brian Bridges, b/k/a Ludacris, is in my mind one of the most successful rappers of the 2000’s. He was certainly one of the most active, releasing six albums in that span (not counting D.T.P. projects) and showing his versatility by branching out into Hollywood with numerous acting roles, though he may be best known as Tej Parker in the “Fast & Furious” series.
In my mind though he doesn’t always get the credit for helping bring the “Dirty South” to prominence in hip-hop. Maybe that’s envy on the part of other artists for his success as an artist, entrepreneur and actor. In my mind that’s no different from hating on Jay Z for his clothing lines and sports teams. Everybody expects you to stay in one lane once you make it big as a rap star, and God forbid you try to use that success to build a future for yourself or for the people you came up with. There’s nothing wrong with seeing someone’s success and using it as motivation to achieve it yourself, but hating someone’s hustle because they worked hard and achieved success seems absurd to me.
I will say this though – if ever there was a year conspicuous consumption was done to the point of being overdone 2006 may have been the year. You see so much ice, cars and wealth being flashed in these 20 videos you may think every single rapper in America was flush with cash. Chains hung low, grills were bought and sold, and collars were popped. Flaunting success when you achieve it is a natural emotion, but there are times it comes across as rubbing our collective noses in it too. The more we’re told that wealth matters above all else, the less we value the things that are really important – family, friends, and community. It’s a delicate balance for hip-hop but in 2006 the scales definitely tipped toward excess.
1.) Ludacris f/ Pharrell – “Money Maker”
2.) Three 6 Mafia f/ Project Pat – “Poppin’ My Collar”
3.) T.I. – “What You Know”
4.) E-40 f/ Keak Da Sneak – “Tell Me When to Go”
5.) Lupe Fiasco – “Kick Push”
6.) Kanye West f/ Lupe Fiasco – “Touch the Sky”
7.) Jim Jones – “We Fly High”
8.) Purple Ribbon All-Stars – “Kryptonite”
9.) Rick Ross – “Hustlin'”
10.) Young Dro f/ T.I. – “Shoulder Lean”